469 children killed in Gaza: UNICEF

United Nations: A senior official of the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) said here Thursday that a total of 469 children were killed in the Gaza Strip, where the situation is "dire" because of its debilitating effect on the one million Gaza Strip inhabitants under the age of 18.

"This situation is very dire in terms of the impact and the toll (it) has on children," Pernille Ironside, chief of Gaza occupied Palestinian territory field office for the UNICEF, was quote as saying by Xinhua at a press conference, days after renewed fighting broke out between Hamas and Israel.

Two killed in fresh Israeli airstrike on Gaza

Gaza: A fresh Israeli airstrike on Gaza Strip killed two Palestinians and wounded three others Thursday night, authorities said.

The airstrike hit the central Gaza Strip town of Deir el-Ballah, raising Thursday's death toll to 34, Xinhua quoted a Gaza health ministry spokesperson as saying.

The ministry noted that the ongoing Israeli operation in Gaza, which started July 8, has so far killed 2,083 people, including 561 children and 255 women, and wounded 10,482 others.

Not interfering in Pakistan crisis, says US

Islamabad: The US Thursday rejected Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan's comment that Washington was interfering in the country's affairs.

The US embassy in Islamabad said that it is not mediating between the Pakistani government and the opposition parties, who are protesting in Islamabad to seek resignation of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, Xinhua reported.

The embassy said that Washington will oppose any "extra-constitutional change to the political system" in Pakistan.

Ukraine's economy minister resigns

Kiev : Ukrainian Economy Minister Pavlo Sheremeta Thursday submitted his resignation to parliament over what he called "inability to work with people who adhere to old values".

On his official Facebook page, Sheremeta explained that he has a lot of disagreements with the government over the country's future economic policies, Xinhua reported.

"Instead of fighting with yesterday's system, I decided to focus on the work with tomorrow's people who will create the system of the future," he wrote.


Ebola toll rises to 1,350: WHO

Geneva : The death toll due to the Ebola virus continues to rise in West Africa and currently stands at 1,350, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said.

Of that number, 576 have died in Liberia where the outbreak is most severe and efforts to contain the virus are deemed most critical, WHO said in a statement Wednesday.

The toll in Guinea and Sierra Leone stands at 396 and 374, respectively, while four people have died from the disease in Nigeria.

US gurdwaras to help project positive Sikh image

By Arun Kumar,

Washington : Over 100 representatives from gurdwaras across the US have pledged support for National Sikh Campaign's plan to engage top US political operatives and media firms for presenting the community positively.

Meeting here over the weekend for a grassroots meeting called by the newly formed NSC, the gurdwara representatives set a target of raising $5 million to shape the Sikh image in America, according to a media release.


Thai military chief selected as interim PM

Bangkok : Thailand's National Legislative Assembly (NLA) Thursday selected military junta chief Prayuth Chan-ocha as the interim prime minister.

A total of 194 NLA members were present, with 191 of them voting for the sole candidate Prayuth and the other three, including the NLA president and two deputies, choosing to abstain, reported Xinhua.

The result will be forwarded to Thailand's king Bhumibol Adulyadej for endorsement.


Bush takes ice bucket challenge, nominates Clinton

Washington : Former US president George W. Bush has joined celebrities across the world to take the ice bucket challenge to help raise money for Lou Gehrig's disease and has nominated his predecessor Bill Clinton to do it next.

In a video clip posted Wednesday on Bush's Facebook page, the former president, wearing a navy blue crewneck while sitting at a table, said he was challenged by his daughter Jenna Bush Hager to take the challenge, Xinhua reported.


Peace? Sri Lanka is still at war -- within (Book Review)

By M.R. Narayan Swamy,

Title: This Divided Island: Stories from the Sri Lankan War; Author: Samanth Subramanian; Publisher: Hamish Hamilton (Penguin); Pages: 320; Price: Rs.499.

US admits failure to rescue journalist in Syria

Washington: The US had recently attempted to rescue a number of American hostages, including slain journalist James Foley held in Syria by the Islamic State, but the mission failed, Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby said Wednesday.

This operation involved air and ground components and was focused on a particular captor network within IS.

Unfortunately, the secret mission this summer in Syria was not successful because the hostages were not present at the targeted location, Xinhua quoted the official as saying.